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Bailey J.S.,Agri Food and Biosciences Institute of Northern Ireland
Soil Use and Management

A substantial proportion of farmed grassland soils in Northern Ireland (NI) are overly enriched with P and pose a risk to water quality. To address this problem, manure could be exported rather than recycled to P-enriched land and the latter intensively cropped with grass silage to deplete soil P. To assess the efficacy of such a strategy, a P- and K-enriched grassland site was intensively cropped over a 6-yr period with fertilizer N alone supplied to support silage growth. By year 6, soil P had declined from index 5 to index 3, and it was estimated that two more years of this management may bring it into the target index 2 range. Soil K, however, declined rapidly from index 4 to index 1 in just 4 yr, with the result that grass production became limited by K deficiency. It was concluded that nonrecycling of manure to P-enriched grassland under silage management is probably the most effective strategy for lowering soil P status, but care must be taken to prevent K deficiency occurring. © 2015 British Society of Soil Science. Source

Huang H.,CAS Research Center for Eco Environmental Sciences | Zhang S.,CAS Research Center for Eco Environmental Sciences | Christie P.,Agri Food and Biosciences Institute of Northern Ireland
Environmental Pollution

Plant uptake and dissipation of weathered PBDEs in the soils of e-waste recycling sites were investigated in a greenhouse study. Eighteen PBDE congeners (tri- through deca-) were detected in the plant tissues. The proportion of lower brominated PBDEs (mono- through hexa-) in plant roots was higher than that in the soils. A concentration gradient was observed of PBDEs in plants with the highest concentrations in the roots followed by the stems and lowest in the leaves. Reduction rates of the total PBDEs in the soils ranged from 13.3 to 21.7% after plant harvest and lower brominated PBDEs were associated with a higher tendency to dissipate than the higher brominated PBDEs. This study provides the first evidence for plant uptake of weathered PBDEs in the soils of e-waste recycling sites and planting contributes to the removal of PBDEs in e-waste contaminated soils. © 2010 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved. Source

Petrovskaya N.,University of Birmingham | Petrovskii S.,University of Leicester | Murchie A.K.,Agri Food and Biosciences Institute of Northern Ireland
Journal of the Royal Society Interface

Ecological monitoring aims to provide estimates of pest species abundance-this information being then used for making decisions about means of control. For invertebrate species, population size estimates are often based on trap counts which provide the value of the population density at the traps' location. However, the use of traps in large numbers is problematic as it is costly and may also be disruptive to agricultural procedures. Therefore, the challenge is to obtain a reliable population size estimate from sparse spatial data. The approach we develop in this paper is based on the ideas of numerical integration on a coarse grid. We investigate several methods of numerical integration in order to understand how badly the lack of spatial data can affect the accuracy of results. We first test our approach on simulation data mimicking spatial population distributions of different complexity. We show that, rather counterintuitively, a robust estimate of the population size can be obtained from just a few traps, even when the population distribution has a highly complicated spatial structure. We obtain an estimate of the minimum number of traps required to calculate the population size with good accuracy.We then apply our approach to field data to confirm that the number of trap/sampling locations can be much fewer than has been used in many monitoring programmes. We also show that the accuracy of our approach is greater that that of the statistical method commonly used in field studies. Finally, we discuss the implications of our findings for ecological monitoring practice and show that the use of trap numbers 'smaller than minimum' may still be possible but it would result in a paradigm shift: the population size estimates should be treated probabilistically and the arising uncertainty may introduce additional risk in decision-making. © 2011 The Royal Society. Source

Wylie A.R.G.,Agri Food and Biosciences Institute of Northern Ireland

Fat affects meat quality, value and production efficiency as well as providing energy reserves for pregnancy and lactation in farm livestock. Leptin, the adipocyte product of the obese (ob) gene, was quickly seen as a predictor of body fat content in animals approaching slaughter and an aid to assessing reproductive readiness in females. Its participation in inflammation and immune responses that help animals survive infection and trauma has clear additional relevance to meat and milk production. Furthermore, almost a decade of discoveries of nucleotide polymorphisms in the leptin and leptin receptor genes has suggested useful applications relating to feed intake regulation, the efficiency of feed use, the composition of growth, the timing of puberty, mammogenesis and mammary gland function and fertility in cattle, pigs and poultry. The current review attempts to summarise where research has taken us in each of these aspects and speculates on where future research might lead. © The Animal Consortium 2010. Source

Ensing D.,Agri Food and Biosciences Institute of Northern Ireland
Journal of Biogeography

A recent publication (Pedreschi et al., 2014, Journal of Biogeography, 41, 548-560) casts doubt over the status of pike (Esox lucius) as a non-native species in Ireland by reporting two distinct genetic groups of pike present: one a human introduction in the Middle Ages, the other hypothesized to result from natural colonization after the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM). While the existence of two groups is not disputed, the hypothesized natural colonization scenario conflicts with the sequence in which the islands of Britain and Ireland became isolated from Europe after the LGM. An alternative natural colonization scenario raised herein was rejected, leaving an earlier, two-phase, human introduction of pike from Britain or Europe to Ireland as a realistic alternative hypothesis explaining the results of Pedreschi et al. (2014). This leaves the debates on human introduction versus natural colonization, introduced versus native species status, and pike management in Ireland wide open. © 2014 John Wiley & Sons Ltd. Source

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